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home : sports : sports
June 23, 2018

5/31/2018 10:44:00 AM
Lady Panthers drop heartbeaker in 10, 4-3
IHSA Class 1A Softball Sectional
Sports Editor

Another strong season came to an abrupt and disappointing end for Oblong High School's softball team.

The Lady Panthers jumped out to an early lead, but couldn't make it stand up, eventually losing in 10 innings to Marissa, 4-3, in the semifinals of the IHSA Class 1A Marissa Sectional Tuesday (May 22).

"That was a tough way to end the season," OHS head coach Galen Slover said. "The kids played well and they played hard. There is no give-up in our kids. We had our opportunities, but we just didn't get it taken care of."

Oblong started strong, scoring a run in the top of the first inning when Abbie Dart singled with two outs and then scored on a triple by Nyah Laino.

The score remained that way until the bottom of the fourth, when Marissa plated a run thanks to an OHS error, a fly ball and a base hit, tying the score at 1-1.

The Lady Panthers quickly responded, scoring twice in the top of the fifth to take a 3-1 lead. Dart and Laino hit consecutive singles with one out, then after a ground out by Madison Neeley moved both runners into scoring position, Aireka Burke brought them home with a two-run double, putting OHS back in front.

Oblong took that lead into the bottom of the seventh, but was unable to close the game out. Back-to-back doubles by Marissa to start the inning cut the margin to 3-2, then a ground out and a sacrifice bunt brought home the tying run and sent the game to extra innings.

Marissa threatened to end the game in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases with one out, but Laino picked a runner off third base, then the next batter flew out to end the threat.

In the top of the ninth, Oblong had a chance to grab the lead, as Samantha Johnson walked with one out, then Summer Johnson reached on an error. After Dart flew out, Laino was intentionally walked to load the bases, but Neeley grounded out to end the inning.

Oblong was able to put two runners on with two outs in the top of the 10th, but could not score there, either. However, Marissa was able to capitalize on a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the inning. Consecutive singles started the inning, then after a double steal and an intentional walk loaded the bases, another base hit brought home the winning run and ended the Lady Panthers' season.

"These kids have been in a lot of close games and know how to win, we just didn't get it done today," Slover said. "But, I can't say enough about these kids and how hard they played all year long. They are a fun group and a hard-working group. The did the best they could, it just wasn't enough."

Dart led OHS at the plate with a double, three singles and two runs batted in, while Laino tripled, singled, knocked in a run and scored a run. Burke doubled, singled and drove in a pair of runs, Summer Johnson doubled and singled, Allison Miller added a pair of base hits and Harley Harrison and Kenzi McIntosh each had a single.

Camryn Travis suffered the loss on the mound, allowing four runs, three earned, on nine hits, while walking five and striking out six in nine-plus innings.

Slover again expressed his gratitude for the support from the community throughout the season.

"We had a tremendous crowd and we've had that all year," Slover said. "They are real supportive of the kids and I appreciate what everybody has done for us. This town really gets behind people and it has been a pleasure to be a part of it for all these years."

Oblong ended its season with a 19-4 record.

"We'll definitely miss those seniors (Samantha Johnson, Summer Johnson, Camryn Travis, Madison Neeley), some of whom have been playing since they were freshmen," Slover said. "But, the shelf is definitely not bare. We've got some good players coming back and some good players coming in. Hopefully, we'll bee able to continue doing what we do."

2018 IHSA Class 1A Softball Sectional

At Marissa

Oblong 100 020 000 0 - 3 14 1

Marissa 000 100 200 1 - 4 9 3

WP - Combs 10IP, 3R, 3ER, 14H, 3BB, 4K. LP - Camryn Travis 9IP, 4R, 3ER, 9H, 5BB, 6K. 2B - Burke (O), Dart (O), Su. Johnson (O), Hand (M), Krause (M). 3B - Laino (O), Smith (M).

Next game - Oblong ended its season with a 19-4 record.

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